Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing’s Justin Cooper won the Monster Energy AMA Supercross 250SX West season opener for the second year running. Although not the traditional Anaheim I, Saturday’s victory at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida, was a great start to his title campaign on a night of challenging conditions. Nate Thrasher had a solid debut in the class, ending the night 11th. His fellow rookie Jarrett Frye was also off to a good start but ultimately recorded a 19th place finish after going down in the whoops. Unfortunately for Jeremy Martin, his night ended early with a crash on the Main Event’s opening lap.
Cooper got off to a flying start, topping both qualifying sessions to take the fastest qualifier honors. He didn’t get off the gate as he wanted to in his heat and had to work his way from sixth to second. The New Yorker remedied that for the race that counted, getting a good start before the red flag and then grabbed the holeshot after the restart. Cooper built a comfortable gap to cross the line nearly five seconds ahead of the competition for his second career victory in the class. It was a stellar first round for the New Yorker who is still not 100% due to a training injury to his foot.
The two rookies showed a lot of promise in their series debut, both making the Main Event despite the challenges of the slick, hard-packed track. Thrasher got off to a great start in his heat race, but went down in the rush to the first turn and had to go through the LCQ, where he finished second. In the Main Event, the 19-year-old rode a smart race and made improvements throughout the 15-minute-plus-one-lap race to work his way from 19th to 11th at the finish line.
Frye finished ninth in his heat to qualify for the main. Like his teammate, he was nearly at back after the start in 18th, but he steadily pushed his way forward. Five laps in Frye made his way to 12th and was looking to keep his forward progress until a crash in the whoops on Lap 13 forced him to retire early with something stuck in his rear wheel.
Martin showed strength straight away with an emphatic win in his heat race. The two-time 250MX Champion aimed to repeat that in the Main Event but got caught up in an incident with another rider in the first rhythm section and was landed on. Shortly after, the race was red-flagged due to another downed rider, but Martin was unable to rejoin. The Minnesotan went to seek medical evaluation and a further update will follow.
The Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing 250SX West team gets a weekend off before the second round of the championship at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida on Saturday, March 6.